Every generation brings a new definition of masculinity and femininity that manifests itself in children’s dress
Little Franklin Delano Roosevelt sits primly on a stool, his white skirt spread smoothly over his lap, his hands clasping a hat trimmed with a marabou feather. Shoulder-length hair and patent leather party shoes complete the ensemble.
We find the look unsettling today, yet social convention of 1884, when FDR was photographed at age 2 1/2, dictated that boys wore dresses until age 6 or 7, also the time of their first haircut. Franklin’s outfit was considered gender-neutral.
For centuries, all children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6.
“What was once a matter of practicality—you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached—became a matter of
‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up